Social Media Integration: How to Integrate Social Media
The idea, that companies
find social media integration difficult because it is a process and not an event,
is erroneous as it is based on generalizations and false assumptions. All
businesses engage in processes. Just because a company places an advert in a
newspaper as an “event” does not mean that is the end of it. It is all part of a larger and more complex
process, under the name of a marketing campaign, which sets out to make contact
and build relationships with potential customers. The basis of social media manipulation is
exactly the same thing.
To successfully integrate
social media into your marketing strategy then rigorous research is needed,
namely on the benefits and risks for the organization, if you were to integrate
these new tools of communication into your marketing and business plan.
Any strategy for
integrating social media should fit into the overall communications strategy of
the organization. For example, there is
no point in setting up social media available worldwide if you are a pizza
delivery firm who only deliver to one town. There is also no point to rushing
in any social media without due consideration beforehand and careful planning.
You should also deploy
human resources who will conduct research to identify influencers and opinion
leaders, both positive and negative.
They must go about analyzing conversations, identifying networks and
tools and finally, analyzing the results of such content, especially on the
image (reputation) of the organizations portrayed in these media. For example if the social network you choose
is a breeding ground for poor software critiquing, then you may wish to give it
a miss if you are a software company. On
the other hand you may wish to set up a large concentrated counter argument to
the negative opinions flying around the social media site. You will no doubt receive a lot of negative
comments if you fly in the face of public (social media public) opinion, but
you will also get a lot of attention because of it.
In short, your human
resources applied to the role of research, have the task of assessing the
quality of conversation between users whilst judging the level of influence of
these sources, their credibility and/or the scope of their network.
Integration should be
approached with the same due diligence as any other process. Consult (and maybe hire) professionals in the
area, including marketing professionals, technical professionals and longtime-user
professionals. They will help you
properly prepare for the use of social media.
Simply opening accounts and asking some of your staff to post comments
every now and then will be unlikely to give a usable return on investment for
the staff hours you put into it. In the
same way that typing a few lines and putting it up on posters will have little
reward unless it is done with planning.
The key aim is to develop
customer relationships with various audiences, including current customers of
the product, taking advantage of immediate feedback (both positive and
negative). Do not confuse
"relationship" with ROI, or return a large monetary investment and
instantaneous sales. You are going to be
able to educate your customers and gain a seat in their mind so that the next
time they consider purchasing, they may think of you. You are very unlikely to
be able to use social media as a successful long term direct sales method.